The photo above was developed in December of ‘58. Since the Polaroid instant camera had yet to come into our lives, there’s no way to tell for certain when the picture was taken. But, given that I’m wearing a coat and hat, it might well have been snapped in December, so I’d have been a little over two years old.
Another thing you can’t tell from this image is how much my daddy loved me and how much I loved him right back. I might not have been his biological child, but he adored me. I’ve always thought it was a good thing we didn’t have much money because I truly believe he’d have turned me into an entitled brat. He had trouble telling me “no.”
Daddy came to live with Studly Doright and me in the last couple of years of his life, and I learned more about him in that time than I had in all the previous years put together. We had some good talks about life and love and what makes for a good grocery store and his antics whilst stationed in Japan during his navy days and famous people he’d met while driving a cab in Los Angeles and how to win at blackjack and which club he should have used on the fourth tee box at the Floydada country club during the annual men’s tournament and just about anything else that popped into his head.
To some folks’ way of thinking, there was nothing particularly noteworthy about Gerald Hall. He didn’t have a degree. His ancestral tree didn’t include any persons of note. He never built a house on a hill or had a fancy car. But he was kind and funny and generous. He had a mischievous twinkle in his eye and a fondness for risqué jokes. He loved my brothers and our mom and me. And we loved him. I miss him every day.
Happy Father’s Day.